In an effort to shake up the race for the Republican nomination, on April 27, Ted Cruz formally announced Carly Fiorina as his running mate. This certainly changes the game, as it is a bit unusual to choose a running mate this early in the race.
The Trump team immediately deemed the move by Cruz as an act of desperation, but Cruz thinks otherwise. While he recognized it is out of the ordinary to choose a running mate this early, Cruz stated that “nobody is getting to 1,237 delegates,” the number needed to clinch the nomination, and voters should “know what [they] will get.” This move has seemed to be a response to Donald Trump’s claim that the race is effectively “over” for Cruz and Kasich.
In accepting Cruz’s offer, Fiorina stated, “I’ve had tough fights all my life. Tough fights don’t worry me a bit.” The pairing of Cruz and Fiorina certainly creates a very diverse ticket-creating the possibility of having the first Hispanic president and first female vice president.
Trump leads Cruz in delegates, 954-562, but Cruz’s strong campaign has elected many delegate allies to the Republican Convention in July. Cruz believes the battle will proceed to a contested convention where he hopes to triumph once some pledged delegates become unbound and are free to switch their votes. At this point Cruz has been mathematically eliminated from clinching the ticket before the convention but has put full effort into making sure the Trump cannot clinch the nomination.
Trump’s response to the situation has been his usual confident response. "First of all, he shouldn't be naming anybody because he doesn't even have a chance," Trump said. "Naming Carly's dumb, because Carly didn't do well. She had one good debate -- not against me by the way, because I had an unblemished record of victories during debates -- but she had one victory on the smaller stage and that was it." In a later statement Wednesday Trump also criticized the move as Cruz merely trying to remain relevant.
As expected, the 2016 presidential campaign is certainly shaping up to be an interesting and controversial one. Although announcing an early running mate may create the spark needed for Cruz, he still lags far behind Trump who swept five primary states on Tuesday. The major primary contests will be more spread out over the next month as the primary calendar expands west to Indiana, Nebraska, Oregon, and Washington State before rounding up in the June 7 contests that include New Mexico, New Jersey, and California.